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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Community struggle, resiliency and determination at San Francisco’s Midtown Park Apartments

The cover story of this week’s San Francisco Weekly is the saga of Midtown Park Apartments that faces a struggle for its very existence in light of dubious actions and activities by San Francisco Housing Director Olson Lee and his staff. The City, which owns the Midtown property, has neglected to make millions of dollars worth of repairs over the past several decades despite hiring property managers to maintain the property, collect rents and enforce terms of tenancy.

San Francisco, your poems are eviction notices

Dear San Francisco, I have walked the length of your streets, have felt your fog breath in my face, have stood shoulder to shoulder on your buses with the generation that came before and the one before that. I have seen the poetry written in the walls and on the floors of those who gave the city life and nourishment. I have seen you dance and I have seen your streets swallow whole the dreams born on the tongues of poets.

Humiliation and loss: Mass cell searches at Corcoran SHU

As of this writing, I’m finally getting situated from another mass cell search being done here at the Corcoran SHU by Gestapo police. This is supposed to be a once a year ordeal, so they searched the whole yard. Well, if so, then why do we get searched so often at different, unexpected times and why do they use K9 dogs and the metal detectors on us and our mattresses? This cell search had to be my most humiliating one yet.

Joe Debro on racism in construction, Part 5

The movement from farm to city forced the proletariat to unite in order to wrest decent pay and working conditions from large corporations, which tended to control entire industries as well as to reduce competition from immigrants and others, including Negroes. The history of the American labor unions, like that of big business itself, is filled with examples of racism, nationalism and exclusionism.

Free Kunta Kinta Green: When someone is innocent, it’s everyone’s business

I’m 37 years old, a husband and father of seven children with two grandkids. On July 15, 2009, I was arrested and charged with second degree murder. Prior to my arrest, I had a very promising future. I was a college student majoring in film, I own and operated Coastal Fence Co., Just Fence It, Price Low Fence Co. and Grave Yard Records in Shreveport, Louisiana. I was very well known in the community for creating jobs and being positive.

Open letter to American universities that invited Kagame to speak

As a coalition of Africa-focused human rights and peace organizations representing a broad range of individuals, we write to express our dismay at your decision to welcome President of Rwanda Paul Kagame to your universities. We regret to inform you that your invitation of Paul Kagame to your institution co-signs his repressive practices inside Rwanda and his aggressive interventions in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A woman called Maya

Maya Angelou had to be the name of a poet. It is too perfect, too lyrical to fit any other personality. She blazed an incandescent streak across the heavens as the voice of memory – as poet, actress, author and activist. She taught generations of students as an honored professor of literature. As a young woman, she struck the boards as an African dancer. And she was a close friend and colleague of Malcolm X.

We interrupt this program: Prison censorship of TV news

Public broadcast stations KQED and KTMP are just two stations multi-casting from Sutro Tower that are currently being blocked or restricted by the SQ administration under the guise of technical difficulties. But it is actually intentional and because these provide programs such as world news and Democracy Now, even documentaries denouncing the horrific practice of long-term torture by solitary confinement in California prisons.

Retired federal judge concludes court should reverse and remand or dismiss IRP6 conviction

IRP Solutions was a small, Black-owned software development company with 15-19 employees that competed against big businesses for lucrative, multi-million-dollar government contracts. Looking back on the raid of IRP Solutions’ business, conducted in 2005 by 21 FBI agents, it is apparent that IRP’s direct competitors were not going to let a small, Black-owned company win a substantial and lucrative contract that had been theirs for years.

Tribute to Mabel Robinson Williams (1931-2014): Mabel and Robert F. Williams led a campaign...

Funeral services were held in Detroit on April 25 for Mrs. Mabel Robinson Williams, the widow of African American revolutionary Robert F. Williams. The Williams served as leaders of the Monroe, North Carolina, chapter of the NAACP during the 1950s until early 1961, when they were targeted by local authorities and the FBI. The civil rights organizers became advocates of armed self-defense against racist violence perpetuated by the Ku Klux Klan and law-enforcement personnel in the city.

Stop the censorship! Restore the Urban Dreams website!

Members of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, including (among others) the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, BART workers and AC Transit bus drivers, were appalled to hear that the Oakland Unified School District succumbed to pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police and the right-wing Fox News by shutting down the educational Urban Dreams website, which includes material on Mumia Abu-Jamal and Martin Luther King Jr.

Oakland Unified School District bans lessons on MLK and Mumia: Demand they restore them!...

Under pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police and Fox News, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) just shut down the entire Urban Dreams website including material on Martin Luther King and Mumia Abu-Jamal authored by Oakland teacher Craig Gordon. OUSD is censoring and attacking the academic freedom of students in the Oakland schools and of teachers. This shameful action must be reversed immediately!

On strike since Marikana Massacre, hungry workers cut production of world’s platinum by nearly...

Nomfanelo Jali stirs porridge she hopes will quell her children’s chronic hunger. Food has been scarce since her husband joined 80,000 workers on strike with South Africa’s main mineworkers’ union, AMCU. The strike, now four months long, is the longest – and costliest – in the nation’s history. Platinum production in the country accounts for 40 percent of the global market, and the work stoppage has pushed up the price of the metal worldwide.

The San Francisco Black Film Festival is back

The SF Black Film Festival is one of the film festivals that I most look forward to in the Bay Area every year. This year it is from June 12-15 at various theaters in San Francisco. It was founded by the late Ave’ Montague, and now it’s under the direction of her son, Kali O’Ray. Every year I’ve seen great films that don’t have the promotional budgets to reach a wider audience without the help of a festival like SFBFF.

The first Memorial Day was Black

As we pause to remember the nation’s war dead, it’s worth remembering that Memorial Day was first celebrated by Black Union troops and free Black Americans in Charleston, South Carolina at the end of the Civil War. The free Black population of Charleston, primarily consisting of former slaves, engaged in a series of celebrations to proclaim the meaning of the war as they saw it.

Desecration of Marcus Books! Sweis family declares war against Blacks in San Francisco

Last week, rather than allow Marcus Books family members to relocate after evicting them, the Sweis family stole all of the books and used sledge hammers to smash the book shelves and furniture. To the Black community, this is a repeat of history, where invaders come in time and time again to smash the symbols and evidence of a people’s greatness. This will NOT be tolerated. Will you stand with us and DEMAND the Sweises respect our history? We need to pressure the Sweises to do the decent thing.

Open letter to Assemblyman Tom Ammiano from prisoners in solitary confinement in Corcoran State...

We write out of concern for the manner in which certain aspects of CDCR’s Step-Down Program (SDP) are being implemented, specifically, self-directed journals and cognitive behavior therapy. Because the aim of these components is to change and restructure the subject’s thought processes, it is a mental health issue, which requires the involvement of mental health professionals in its implementation and oversight.

Open letter to Sen. Loni Hancock from prisoners in solitary confinement in Corcoran State...

We write out of concern for the manner in which certain aspects of the step-down program (SDP) are being implemented by the CDCR, specifically, self-directed journals and cognitive behavior therapy. Because these components have to do with changing and restructuring the thought processes of people, they involve mental health issues and require the involvement of mental health professionals in their implementation and oversight.

Mayor Lee uses San Francisco Human Rights Commission to discriminate against Blacks

As a member of the Equity Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (SFHRC), I learned a lot. It was all bad for The City’s Black community. The SFHRC was formed in 1964 to fight discrimination against Blacks in The City. Today, it is clear to me that this charter commission discriminates against the Black community – with no end in sight.

Berkeley-based filmmaker Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi releases new film about Cuban musicians, presents Fist Up Film...

Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi is one of the most prolific filmmakers in the Bay Area when it comes to working with working class people in different nations, most times on different continents, and telling their stories. His films deal with music and social movements in Cuba, Colombia and Ghana. If you are not hip to what he has going on, make sure you check out this interview and check him out at the Fist Up Film Festival. Here is Eli in his own words.